Sunday, 30 September 2012

FILA and the future of MMA

Three of the most popular Combat Sports throughout GB are Sombo,  Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), yet out of the three only one of them has a governing body that is recognised by UKSport and has an International Body recognised by Sport Accord and that is the British Sombo Federation. This I believe will be changing in the very near future as the very well respected F.I.L.A has included the other two on their list of Wrestling Sports which they call Amateur MMA and Grappling.

F.I.L.A has been responsible for Free Style and Greco Roman since the Olympics began so they are the obvious choice for running these sports. It is important that we put some legitimisation into MMA as there are so many unqualified, inexperience clubs teaching these Combat Skills. I recently heard of a karate Club whose numbers had been dwindling changing their name to an MMA club and their membership quadrupled. When they were questioned they said they had mixed several Karate Styles together, hence MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). Although those in the know realise that is not what MMA is, the public do not.

I have strong doubts that you would be able to register MMA Mixed Martial Arts as a “Service Mark” because of the nature of the name Mixed Martial Arts which can mean anything and is not specific. Maybe MMA could have been registered but now because it has been widely used I doubt it. When I registered “CombatSombo” a Grappling Self Defence System in 1988 as a service mark no one had used a combination of the name in any other form. Since then the International body has come up with a very successful Full Contact Jacket Strike and Grapple called Combat Sambo. In some countries many use the same words for a self-defence system. The main advantage of registering COMBATSOMBO is I have total control of the name in this country and only grading certificates with my signature or my authorisation can justify you saying you do COMBATSOMBO. Sadly at the time I did not get it registered worldwide, however, because everyone knows that CombatSombo is my style, they can still check to see if the Coach is registered with me.

A Couple of years ago I was invited along with others to a meeting with the British Wrestling Association at the Wrestling Academy in Salford to discuss MMA and they came up with two very useful and unique names. For MMA Grappling and Submission Wrestling with or without Jackets they would use the name FILA Grappling, for MMA strike and grapple they would use the words FILA Combat. These two names are easily defined and can be easily regulated and I believe this is the way forward. I for one have no objections affiliating to the BWA, in fact our Warriors Grappling Academy is a member.
Those who enjoy true MMA need to break away from the name because the name is slowly become ridiculed.

Amateur Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a full contact combat sport that incorporates striking (both standing and on the ground) and wrestling/grappling techniques. As governed by FILA, it is practiced within a safe and regulated environment, which relies on a fair and objective scoring system and competition procedures similar to those in force in Olympic wrestling.

Despite its tremendous popularity, MMA is facing various legitimacy issues due to the lack of sanctioning by the national sports authorities and the lack of universal rules that would protect the athletes' physical and psychological integrity. FILA considers that the implementation of an amateur variant that could guarantee a safe training environment and a competition systems complying with the Olympic standards has become an urgent necessity for all athletes wishing to engage in a professional career. Through the mandatory use of protection gear and limited impact rules (especially regarding ground and pound), FILA intends to offer a safe and educational sport that can satisfy athletes with both recreational and professional goals. 

With its combination of stand up and ground techniques, amateur MMA represents a great form of self-defines, which is particularly recommended for the training of police, security, and military forces. Amateur MMA is practiced with board shorts and an optional rashguard along with approved protection gear that includes head gear, shin protectors, and gloves that allow grabbing and holding the opponent for a comfortable application of grappling techniques.

Amateur MMA counts 7 weight categories for men and 5 weight categories for women. No absolute category is considered in order to avoid potentially harmful situations.  

·       Men: 60-65-70-75-80-90-110kg 
·       Women: 50-55-60-65-75kg  

Licence and insurance: The FILA licence is mandatory for all international amateur MMA competitions with more than two participating countries. Every international competition shall be announced to FILA and added to its official calendar. The FILA insurance will only apply to competitions which appear in its calendar. The FILA licence allows its holder to take part in all wrestling styles ruled by FILA.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

International Budo Federation, British Combat Sombo Association 46th Annual Summer Camp

All participants

For 45 years the annual Summer Camp has been running. It was first held at St Mary’s Bay but for the last few years it has been at the Army Cadet Camp Dibgate Folkestone. This year we could not get the Camp because of the Olympic Games, it seems foreign teams had been allocated some ACF Accommodation and we were left out. So we altered the course to a 3-day event and the venue was the Swale Martial Arts Club, Sittingbourne. Those who did not mind roughing it slept in the Dojo on Mats but this added to camaraderie.

The Instructors for the Camp were John Clarke 5th Dan Judo, Master of Sombo; Colin Carrott 4th Dan Judo, Master of Sombo; Ian Parker 3rd Dan Judo.  The main theme of the Course was Judo with a little bit of Sombo; many had attended the course to improve on their Judo and Sombo Grades.

Every year we have an Annual Bash; this is where Jacket Grapplers (Judo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Sombo, Kurash) turn up to fight each other. The session is about 2 hours, starts with Ground Work and then finishes with Up Standing, all accompanied on by the pumping music of Status Quo. This was started by Martin Clarke some 30 years ago and has always been a popular part of the Camp with people from far and wide attending, not just fighters but Coaches and players too old to fight and who want to be reminded of their past glories.

John Clarke is now the Senior Coach on the Camp, taking over from his father, Martin Clarke, as Martin did in the late 1970’s from his father John (Nobby) Clarke. The 3rd generation of Clarkes! And waiting in the wings is John’s son Lewis who only 12 years old and is training with the Adults -could he be the 4th generation? Let’s hope so.

Everyone was successful in their grading with the exam done over the whole 3 days but the grading everyone was waiting for was the Black belt grading late Saturday afternoon.

Vinney Drogoff, Bedford Grappling Academy, was attempting his 1st Dan /Degree Black Belt. Vinney comes from Lithuania and is a top class Sombo Player and his fighting ability was well worthy of a Black Belt in Judo; in fact if he joined an organisation that did not believe in the tradition of Judo, believing Judo is just a sport; he would have obtained the coveted Black Belt some time ago.

The IBF believes that the theory, moral and philosophical parts of traditional Judo are as important as the competitive side if not more important. So those who are going for a competitive grade have to show: 
  1.   Competition Record
  2.   Theoretical Knowledge
  3.   Kata (Sequence of pre-set movements)

    For Competitive 1st Dan the Kata required is Nage No Kata. For competitive 4th Dan it’s Goshen Jutsu Kata. Non Competitive Grades would be expected to do Kata to a higher standard and each Dan Grade level would be expected to perform all Kata’s done in previous gradings.

All Kyu Grades (student Grades) are also expected to perform certain sections of the Nage No Kata (Formal Display of 15 throws done left and right) including juniors.

The Grading panel for the Dan Grading were Martin Clarke 8th Dan, Trevor Davies 6th Dan, John Clarke 5th Dan, Colin Carrott 4th Dan and Ian Parker 3rd Dan. A candidate only passes if there is 100% agreement by all panel members.

Vinney performed some extremely good techniques which we expected of an International standard Sombo player.  His hard part was the theory and Kata but with hard work he passes to 1st Dan successfully.

Ashley with his dad Keith
Ashley, at 31 years of age has a wealth of experience in Sombo, Judo and Kurash, starting his Judo at the age of 5. His father Keith Costa is also a 3rd Dan Judo and is one of the IBF’s leading Junior Coaches. His training at the Young Judo Club/Warriors Grappling Academy, Sittingbourne has been invaluable; coached by Martin Clarke and in later years by his son John. Ashley is proof that learning Kata, theory etc. doesn’t hinder your competitive ability, in fact it enhances it. As mentioned before Ashley had to do just the Goshin Jutsu Kata, which he did perfectly but Martin Clarke insisted that he do Nage No Kata as well, he selected 26 year old Danny Carrott as his UKE (Throwing Partner) who also is an International Judo, Kurash, Sombo Player. They had never worked together on the Nage No Kata and neither had done it for some time. Yet they presented a very passable Kata, once again proof that if you understand Kata you do not forget it.

Kata teaches you the discipline of correct perfection of technique and the realisation that some things in life can never be perfect; this in itself can enhance your skill level.

Results of Grading:

Ashley Costa 4th Dan
Andy Smith Brown Belt
George Watt Brown belt
Keith Brown Blue Belt
Mike Rudkin Green Belt
Keith Hadkin and Ollie Bruton Orange Belt
Richard Seaman Blue Belt 4 tabs
Lewis Clarke Blue Belt 1 tab.
Vinnie Dragan 1st Dan
Adam Dodds Brown

Anyone Interested in Judo/Sombo contact John Clarke on 07825224940